Occupy America for Change - by Stephen Lendman
Good ideas spread fast. This one's long overdue. Real grievances launched it.
They include out-of-control corporate power, complicit politicians, systemic corruption, predatory finance capital, capitalism itself, frustration turned to rage and activism, growing poverty, depravation, unemployment, imperial wars, environmental destruction, unprecedented inequality, rigged elections, and a nation no longer fit to live in for most in it.
There's no turning back now. A sign in New York's Liberty Plaza read, "The Beginning Is Near!" Struggling for change just began. Expect years before it ends. This fight's the mother of them all. Committed activists are putting their bodies on the line, facing off against brutal cops.
It's activist class struggle, pitting organized people against entrenched power.
Nothing short of changing America is needed. One OWS statement said:
"We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments."
"The beauty of this new formula....is simplicity: we talk to each other (in) physical gatherings (and) people's assemblies. We zero in on what our one demand will be (that) awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would (achieve) radical democracy....and then we go out and seize a square....and put our asses on the line to make it happen."
Participants are independent, multi-racial and ethnic, and in the streets. They include many religions and age groups, kids and grannies, men and women, workers and unemployed, professionals, veterans, rich and poor together to change America.
They're a cross-pollination for a new nation, united in the fight of their lives too important to lose.
Rebuild the Dream.com posted a "Contract for the American Dream," saying:
"Today, the American Dream is under threat. Our veterans are coming home to few jobs and little hope on the home front. Our young people are graduating off a cliff, burdened by heavy debt, into the worst job market in half a century."
America's the world's richest nation. They want its resources used responsibly for everyone. They want jobs, not cuts. They listed "10 critical steps" to address, including:
• rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure;
• create clean energy jobs;
• support public education;
• provide universal healthcare;
• mandate living wage security;
• secure Social Security;
• implement progressive taxes;
• end imperial wars;
• tax Wall Street speculation; and
• restore lost democratic values and principles.
In mid-October, a Quinnipiac University poll showed three-fourths of New York City's registered voters support OWS rage against bankers and social injustice.
UCLA Professor Nina Elisoph said OWS "started to change the debate in the country (and has) pried open some questions people hadn't been asking."
Bloomberg News said their message "may be resonating. Sixty-one percent of (in new ABC News/Washington Post poll) said the US wealth gap is larger now than it has been (before, and) six in 10 said they support government efforts to reduce the disparity."
Tacitly, that's majority OWS support. Expect greater momentum growing across America and Europe.
Last month, Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters encamped around St. Paul's Cathedral. On November 9, they rallied against huge tuition hikes, putting higher education out of reach for thousands. Months ago, they protested earlier hikes and other social injustice issues.
Others erected tents outside the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany. Days earlier, thousands demonstrated there. Protests were held outside Amsterdam's stock exchange.
Tens of thousands raged in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and, of course, Greece against painful austerity cuts to pay bankers, using public revenues for it.
Athens is the struggle's epicenter against financial terrorism. On and off general strikes shut down the country. More will follow. Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned.
Former ECB vice president Lucas Papademos replaced him. Troika power rules the country - the EU, IMF and ECB.
It runs all 17 Eurozone countries. They're trapped in the euro straightjacket with no control over their monetary or fiscal policies.
Sovereign Greece no longer exists. Will other troubled sovereigns follow? Several now approach the abyss.
Will millions more across Europe lose jobs, welfare and futures? Will tear gas, rubber bullets, baton power, and mass arrests restrain them?
Is America too big to fail? Whether it is or isn't won't help ordinary people losing jobs, homes and futures. It's happening in plain sight, strip mining the country's human capital.
In mid-September, protests erupted, first on Wall Street, then elsewhere nationwide, in big cities and small. America's media ignored them, then trivialized, marginalized and mocked them. They became the issue, not legitimate grievances needing addressed.
Reactionary politicians like Republican Eric Cantor criticized "growing mobs." Presidential aspirant Herman Cain called them "anti-Semitic." Fox News calls them a "fringe" group," "petulant little children," "useful idiots," and "deluded" with "absolutely no purpose or focus in life."
Protests, in fact, represent direct democracy in action. They highlight long ignored issues, ones political Washington and media scoundrels don't discuss. Somebody has to, and they're doing it.
They're spreading the word one-on-one, in small and larger groups, online, through social networks, assemblies, teach-ins, and other ways to enlist support city by city for something too important not to grow and sustain.
So far, police brutality energized more resistance. Rage against the system continues. Much more must follow. Key is formalizing demands and solutions, not just grievances.
Central is putting money power back in public hands where it belongs. Otherwise little else will change. Hopefully that message will spread.
People must be saved, not banks. Too-big-to-fail ones must be shut, broken up or nationalized. Central bank authority must also shift to public hands. Sustained general city, state and national strikes must be used strategically.
America's system is too broken and corrupted to fix. Tearing it down and starting over is vital, including a new Constitution put to a national referendum for an up or down vote.
Egalitarian America must replace it's wealth and power system, benefitting few at the expense of most others. The biggest of all battles lie ahead. Dark forces lurk to co-opt and subvert them.
Staying the course is key. Obstacles exist to be overcome. So is knowing IF Stone's advice that:
"The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins...."
Gandhi said it his way, saying:
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win."
We're in the ridiculing/fighting stage. It'll continue years longer, maybe decades. Nothing's guaranteed, of course, especially in the mother of all struggles.
If activists and those after them don't quit, winning's indeed possible, but not without great pain, sacrifice, and struggles often looking futile.
It's how all great battles are won, none easily, quickly or without great cost.
No matter. Liberate your minds. Join the 99%. Stay the course, and find out! We're all in this together!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.